First it was the Spanish Olympic men's and women's basketball
team. Then came the NBA's official marketing partner and the
signing of Cleveland Cavaliers player Damon Jones.
Now joining the bandwagon is the ATP, the world's governing body
for professional men's tennis.
Chinese sporting goods giant Li-Ning is putting its efforts in
high gear to become a famous global brand by linking up with
Yesterday Li-Ning Sports Good Co Ltd, named after former Chinese
legendary gymnastics prince Li Ning, signed a partnership contract
with ATP, thus becoming the official Chinese marketing partner of
the organization which oversees the world's highest level of
In the near future, some elite ATP players may possibly sport
Li-Ning brands during Grand Slam tournaments.
ATP regional CEO Brad Drewett, who brought the ATP Masters Cup
to China, said that his organization was proud to be a partner with
such a famous company as Li-Ning, calling it a sporting giant in
"Hopefully, the partnership will become a major influence and a
driving force in the sport of tennis in China," said Drewett, a
former Australian professional player.
Drewett won two singles and six doubles titles during his 14
years of pro tennis. In March 1984, he became the highest-ranked
Australian player at 34th place for singles and 18th in the
doubles. He retired in 1990.
He said the partnership will help lure more Chinese to the
"And hopefully, in the very near future, we can see Chinese
players wearing Li-Ning shirts to be ranked among the world's top
10," Drewett added.
Under the contract, Li-Ning will have the exclusive rights to
make, sell and promote Li-Ning products with both Li-Ning and ATP
logos covering sportswear, shoes and accessories. Products with
Li-Ning and ATP logos will appear in tennis promotions hosted by
In events and marketing promotions, ATP and Li-Ning will put
forward two events - the Li-Ning ATP Challenger Series and Li-Ning
ATP Smash Tennis. The series is for the development of the young
players while the smash tennis event is for the child players to
get close with the pro athletes.
More importantly, ATP will help Li-Ning to sign the world's top
Though it is still too early to predict how long it will take
for the top ATP players to wear Li-Ning brands, the more realistic
expectation is that tennis fans in China will have easy access to
ATP products, especially during the ATP Masters Cup in Shanghai in
(China Daily March 17, 2006)